Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on many different components, which includes a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are usually robust and reliable, it’s not uncommon for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is awry. One such sound is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These distressing noises can be linked to several sources.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is a frequent air conditioner sound you could hear on hot, humid days and is no reason for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner performs, moisture from the inside air gathers on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath. This pan is designed to catch and funnel the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line. However, if the drain becomes clogged or broken, water can accumulate in the pan, producing a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool underneath. If the dripping noise becomes an annoyance, identify the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and empty it.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a warning sign that the condensate drain line is plugged and should be cleared. A float switch should automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and produces water damage, but the float switch could always fail. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll have to solve the drain pan issue before your unit will function normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners make condensate during the cooling process, they do not run on or use water. This means your AC shouldn't sound like running water. If you hear this sound, it might mean the evaporator coil has frozen over and is now thawing and dripping water onto the ground.
This can happen for a few reasons, including:
- Dirty air filter: A filter clogged with dust, dirt and other debris limits airflow. This may cause the temperature inside the evaporator coil to fall below freezing, which then freezes the condensate accumulated on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it moves through the evaporator coil. If the air conditioner is undercharged or seeping out and the refrigerant level is minimal, it loses the capacity to absorb the heat. This can cause the temperature to fall below freezing and ice to form on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grime may build up on a neglected evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and blocking the refrigerant inside from absorbing heat. When this happens, the coil may freeze.
- Broken thermostat: Poor temperature calibration could cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the ideal level. Constant operation can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes up.
- Blower problems: The blower circulates air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or performing at a low speed, the low level of airflow can freeze the evaporator coil.
3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound
Refrigerant is a crucial ingredient in the cooling process. If a leak has developed or air comes to be caught in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system may gurgle due to overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repair work to a professional who can verify the right refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could indicate one of these issues:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the location and extent of a refrigerant leak, it may create more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
- Issues with the compressor: The compressor located in the outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it moves through the AC model. This component may make a hissing noise if it becomes defective.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that controls refrigerant movement within the compressor may also leak and hiss.
Schedule Air Conditioning Services
If you hear a sound similar to running water from your air conditioner, take steps to identify and address the cause to avoid further damage. [companyname] can detect and fix any issue causing your AC to sound like running water, whether that’s condensation buildup, a refrigerant leak, a stopped up drain line or a frozen evaporator coil. Every single AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or request a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].